The American Psychological Association estimates that 75 – 90% of visits to doctor’s offices are related to issues of psychological stress.
Behavioral Symptoms of Stress
Many people turn to food as a way to cope with stress. Others turn to the use of drugs. Some turn to alcohol. Still others light up a cigarette. Some burn the midnight oil surfing the internet and pay for it the next day because they have had inadequate sleep. These are various coping mechanisms that people often turn to in an effort to cope with the stress or challenges in their lives.
Independent of our behavior, stress can affect our body physically and cognitively. This happens through a series of complex interactions between our nervous, endocrine and immune systems. You can read more about this on another page of the site – Stress and Health.
Here are a few cognitive and physical symptoms or signs of stress:
Cognitive Symptoms of Stress
- Memory problems
- Inability to concentrate
- Poor judgment
- Pessimistic approach or thoughts
- Anxious or racing thoughts
- Constant worrying
- Emotional symptoms
- Irritability or short temper
- Agitation, inability to relax
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Sense of loneliness and isolation
- Depression or general unhappiness
Physical Symptoms of Stress
- Aches and pains
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Nausea, dizziness
- Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
- Loss of sex drive
- Frequent colds
The infographic in this post – Stress Effects on the Body Infographic is an effective visual of the impact that stress can have on the body.
Whatever the source of stress in your life, be it a strained relationship, financial challenges, work issues or some other stressor, a believer’s best resource is their relationship with God, his Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
God wants us to trust in him, knowing and believing that he is in control. He desires that we rely on the Holy Spirit to give us strength and peace. And Jesus tells us:
” Come to me,all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
The more you rely on God and trust in him, the less likely your circumstances will impact you adversely – in your behaviors or in your body, physically. And, the better you will able to manage life circumstances and potential stressors the better your life will reflect Christ and be a positive representative of the Christian faith to others.
Resources Related to Stress and Your Body and the Christian Faith
Article – Manage Your Stress with God’s Help
A Billy Graham Daily Devotional
Many diseases of both body and mind are self-inflicted. For example, ulcers are often caused by worry and anxiety. Heart attacks are caused many times by overexertion. Unjustified worry, fear, prejudice, hatred, and envy can contribute to mental stress, which could lead to mental illness. So one way to have a healthy mind is to avoid those practices. But the Bible-way to a healthy mind is this, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” If you have the mind of Christ, worry will be offset by trust, enmity by love, and fear by faith.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Fears sometimes seem as if they would overwhelm me, Lord Jesus, but then I remember Your gift of power, love, and a healthy mind. Thank You for the promise of healing and love, as I keep my mind on You, my beloved Lord.